Quail Run, Lawrence High faculty members honored with annual awards

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The Lawrence school district on Wednesday surprised two of its faculty members as winners of annual honors.

Jenny Gorup, the library media specialist at Quail Run Elementary School, was named the Lawrence elementary teacher of the year; Barbara Tholen, Lawrence High journalism adviser and graphic design teacher, is this year’s Lawrence master teacher. 


Gorup is in her 21st year with the district, where she taught for six years at Sunflower Elementary and has served in her present position at Quail Run since 2006, according to a news release from the district. 

“She (Gorup) is constantly seeking new and innovative ideas and resources to bring to the library and to share with her colleagues,” Quail Run teachers Mandy Sikes and Christina Smith wrote in their nomination of Gorup. “She plays an active role in supporting curriculum development with different grade-level teams and works collaboratively with teachers to bring unique learning experiences to students.” 

Gorup mentors new library media specialists in the district, and she shares what she has learned with colleagues at Quail Run and districtwide, according to the release. 

Tholen is in her 11th year with LHS, where she has taught a variety of multimedia courses, according to the release. She serves as the adviser to the school newspaper, The Budget, and the Red & Black yearbook, which this year was a finalist for a prestigious Pacemaker award from the National Scholastic Press Association. 

Current and former students, parents, and colleagues nominated Tholen, according to the release. 

“She has been my longest supporter in journalism,” wrote LHS alumna Cortlynn Stark, now a reporter for the Kansas City Star. “I would not be where I am today in this field without her and everything she has done for me.” 

The district annually nominates a Lawrence master teacher to the Kansas Master Teacher program hosted by Emporia State University’s Teachers College, according to the release. That award comes with a $2,500 prize.

The district also selects an elementary and a secondary teacher of the year for local recognition; those winners are nominated to the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Teacher of the Year program. The secondary teacher of the year will be announced in May. Both of those awards come with a $1,000 prize. 

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